Apple Fest at the Ithaca Commons on October 2, 2021. (Julia Nagel/Sun Assistant Photography Editor)

October 19, 2021

Falling Into Autumn With Apple Harvest Festival

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As I approached the commons, the harmonic melody of a violin welcomed me to the Commons entrance. This was just the beginning of the 39th annual Apple Harvest Festival, running in the Ithaca Commons from Friday, Oct.1 to Sunday, Oct.3 this year. All over the Commons, the smell of apple crumble, kettle popcorn and fried food permeated through the air and mixed with the damp rain. This was my first experience at Apple Fest, and it only enticed me to visit every booth to check out the apple treats and local goods that merchants brought.

The main area of the Commons was focused solely on apple products like the famous homemade apple crumble, apple cider donuts and local apple cider. My first stop was the apple crumble booth, which already had a line formed around the tent. For $7, I was able to get a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, surrounded by a warm apple crumble — I was not disappointed. The first bite was filled with a burst of apple cinnamon sauce, mixed in with the apple crumble, all finished by the cool vanilla ice cream. Addicting was an understatement. Within a few minutes, I was able to finish the whole bowl, which made me only crave more. 

The Apple Harvest Festival, known as Apple Fest, occured on Oct. 1 through Oct. 3, 2021, on the Ithaca Commons and on side streets. (Hannah Rosenberg/Sun Photography Editor)

I proceeded to look at the arts and crafts booths, where local vendors were selling an assortment of products like eco-friendly t-shirts, flavored peanut butter and crystals. On the opposite side was a section filled with food trucks, dedicated to selling hot meals such as Silo’s famous mac and cheese, potato pancakes and pumpkin funnel cake. 

I then moved on to looking at the Carnival-themed booths across the street. Not only were there typical fair treats, such as cotton candy and caramel apples, there were also several carnival activity booths like balloon popping. It was a surreal moment to see such livelihood and color amidst the streets in Ithaca on a rainy day. I quickly got in line to get the candy apple, drenched in homemade caramel, all finished with whipped cream on top. The slight bitterness of the apples mixed in with the sweet caramel was the perfect ending to my day. 

Overall, my experience at Apple Fest was filled with awe, and it was delightful to see friends and families mingling around, eating treats and having a good time. I hope to come back every year during my time at Cornell, knowing that my bowl of apple crumble will be waiting for me, hot and sweet.

Grace Kim is a current sophomore in the School of Hotel Administration. She can be reached at [email protected]